ADTRAN merges with ADVA, creating fiber networking giant

Aug. 30, 2021
Combination of companies expands shared product offering, creating a global end-to-end fiber networking giant with combined revenues of $1.2B, delivering differentiated fiber connectivity for the metro edge, aggregation, access and subscriber segments.

ADTRAN, Inc., (NASDAQ: ADTN) and ADVA today announced their entry into a business combination agreement to combine the two companies, creating a global, scaled provider of end-to-end fiber networking platforms for communications service provider, enterprise and government customers.

The companies say the merger combines ADTRAN’s global leadership in fiber access, fiber extension and subscriber connectivity technology with ADVA’s global leadership in metro wavelength division multiplexing, data center interconnect, business Ethernet and network synchronization solutions.

Both companies are known as pioneers in the development of open, disaggregated networking technology, who possess a shared vision for the future of fiber networking.

The companies say the combined business will offer a comprehensive portfolio for providing homes, businesses and 5G infrastructure with scalable, secure and assured fiber connectivity, paired with cloud-managed Wi-Fi connectivity and SaaS applications that optimize the performance of the network and improve the customer experience.

“We are in the early stages of an unprecedented investment cycle in fiber connectivity, especially in the U.S. and Europe, fueled by the demand for last-mile fiber access and middle-mile transport to provide high-speed connectivity to homes, businesses and future 5G infrastructure,” observed ADTRAN's Chairman and CEO Thomas Stanton.

Stanton continued, “By joining forces, our combined firm’s portfolio will better position us to capitalize on this highly compelling global opportunity. We expect the transaction will create significant long-term value for both companies’ stakeholders by increasing our scale and improving our ability to serve as a trusted supplier for customers worldwide.”

“The business combination is an outstanding opportunity to leverage the complementary nature of our customers and product portfolios and the compatibility of our companies’ businesses and culture,” added ADVA CEO Brian Protiva. “We are excited to join forces and create a world-class team with exceptional technology expertise and customer focus. Our shared vision and passion for innovative networking solutions will benefit our customers through an enhanced value proposition, including a fully integrated end-to-end architecture for enterprise, access and metro core markets.”

The companies also note that the combination of companies will leverage the new entity's trusted supplier status to communications service providers, to create an expanded, secure and more-comprehensive portfolio for government networks and critical infrastructure. The combined company will continue to support all customers in its current markets and will continue to benefit from world-class R&D teams to help advance the next generation of fiber communications networks.

According to a press release, the combination of ADTRAN and ADVA is expected to create significant value for the shareholders of both companies, with approximately $52 million in pre-tax annual cost synergies realized within two years post-closing, driven by identified supply chain efficiencies and operating model optimization.

Importantly, the combination will create opportunities to better serve customers. This will enable the combined company to accelerate its growth profile by utilizing a broader regional presence and the enhanced cross-selling opportunities facilitated by complementary product lines.

Transaction details

ADTRAN and ADVA will combine under a new holding company (which will be renamed ADTRAN Holdings, Inc. following the closing) pursuant to an all-stock exchange offer for 100% of ADVA’s outstanding shares.

Under the terms of the offer, each ADVA share will be exchanged for 0.8244 shares of common stock in the new holding company. The offer is equivalent to €14.98 per ADVA share based on ADTRAN’s 3-month VWAP as of August 27, 2021, representing a premium of 22% to ADVA’s 3-month VWAP for the same time period, an equity value of €789 million, and an enterprise value of €759 million for an implied multiple of 1.3x LTM Revenue. ADTRAN shares will be exchanged for shares in the new holding company on a one-for-one basis. At the closing, ADTRAN shareholders will own approximately 54% of the equity of the combined company and ADVA shareholders will own approximately 46%, assuming a tender of 100% of ADVA shares.

The new holding company will commence the public takeover offer after approval of the offer document by the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt fuer Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht / BaFin), which ADTRAN anticipates occurring in November 2021. The offer will be subject to certain closing conditions, including a minimum acceptance threshold of 70% of the outstanding shares in ADVA, majority approval by ADTRAN shareholders, regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions.

The business combination agreement has been approved unanimously by the ADTRAN Board of Directors and the ADVA Management and Supervisory Boards. The transaction also has the strong support of ADVA’s largest shareholder, Egora, which has entered into an irrevocable commitment to tender into the offer shares representing 13.7% of ADVA’s outstanding shares.

The companies anticipate completing the transaction during the second or third quarter of 2022, subject to receipt of required regulatory approvals, as well as satisfaction of other customary closing conditions. The new holding company, in coordination with the ADVA Management and Supervisory Boards, intends to pursue a delisting and squeeze-out of the ADVA shares, following settlement of the offer or at a later date, depending on the new holding company’s shareholding in ADVA, prevailing market conditions and other economic considerations.

The combined company

The combined company will be named ADTRAN Holdings, Inc. Its global headquarters will be located in Huntsville, AL and its European headquarters will be in Munich, Germany.

The new management team and Board of Directors will have a balanced mix of executives from both companies. ADTRAN’s Chairman and CEO, Tom Stanton, will serve in the same capacity following the close of the transaction. ADVA’s CEO, Brian Protiva, will transition into the role of Executive Vice Chairman. ADTRAN’s CFO, Mike Foliano, will remain in his current role and ADVA’s CTO, Christoph Glingener, will serve in the same capacity for the combined entity.

The Board of Directors of the combined company will comprise 9 directors, 6 of whom will be directors designated by ADTRAN and 3 of whom will be directors designated by ADVA.

The combined company will be dual-listed on the NASDAQ and Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

In the transaction BofA Securities is acting as exclusive financial advisor to ADTRAN, and Jefferies is acting as exclusive financial advisor to ADVA. Kirkland & Ellis LLP is serving as legal counsel to ADTRAN, and Hogan Lovells International LLP is serving as legal counsel to ADVA.

Learn more at www.adtran.com/investor.

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